It is less than a week away until the 2012 Stanley Cup NHL Playoffs officially begin, and already strategy has become a huge part of play. As some teams are still trying to unhinge each other to clinch their own playoff berth, those already in have their own tactics for making sure that they’re in top form entering Round One. The strategy: keep your best players out and make sure they’re rested for the playoffs. That’s certainly what both the Ottawa Senators and the Boston Bruins seem to be thinking as they face off against each other tonight at Scotiabank Place.
It’s going to be an exact replica of what fans can most likely to expect in the first round; the same teams, the same fans — but not necessarily the same players. Tonight, the Senators will rest Craig Andreson in favor of starting backup Ben Bishop; and the Bruins will also rest their goalie, Tim Thomas, along with stars Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron. The fact that the Bruins are sitting many of their best though, has many pointing towards a theory that they want to ensure they face Ottawa in the first round by giving up two points.
It’s unlikely, though. In order for Ottawa to face the New York Rangers instead of the Bruins, they’d need to lose all of their remaining games. Not to mention the fact that the Bruins are the defending Stanley Cup champions, and the fact that they’re that scared of any team to set up such measures and actually lose a game, is even more doubtful.
Most likely, both of these teams know that they will be facing each other in just a week’s time. They know that now is the time to rest their star players, and let those who don’t get much chance to play time to shine for a little while. Either way, with so many theories running wild already, this is going to be the series to watch in the first round!